Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: Purple Gel Date: Jun 15, 2010 2:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

I know this is gonna ruffle a lot of feathers here!

I have not spent money on any GD releases or merchandise since 2005 when they stopped the ability to download sbds here {Ok in the interest of full disclosure, I spent $4 on a SYF window sticker a couple of years ago when I bought a new car}. Yes I spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years on the Grateful Dead experience, and I religiously bought every release, whether I had the show already or not. I was willing to pay for the priviledge of access to the whole archive.

I do not feel a sense of entitlement, the band does not owe me anything. By the same token, I do not owe them anything. If they want my business, they need to provide a service that I want. If they don't, that's fine.

These guys are not stupid, they made tens of millions of dollars each off of their incredible run w/Jerry.

Allowing people access to the live music was a brilliant marketing and business plan, and, from what I can gather, they kind of stumbled into it by not cracking down on the early tapers and by handing out Boards to select fans. If all those tapes were not circulating, tens of thousands of fans would never have gotten on the bus, and a lot of others would not have made the effort to travel great distances to see the band 10, 20 30 or more times a year, and they would probably not have been the top grossing live act in the world. That's how I was turned on to them, through tapes, and I know that thousand of others were too.

For example: I remember in 1983 when the tapes from the East Coast arrived in Boulder with St. Stephen on them. My friends and I ended up travelling 20 hours to the Marin shows, which we weren't even planning to go to. The tapes were advertisements of what was going on and encouraged us to go to so many shows. The same kind of thing happened after the Dark Star on 12/31/81, I brought the tape home with me and next thing I knew, we were all heading to the West CDoast for the first shows of the year.

For me, it was an understood informal contract, you allow me access to the music and I will support you by purchasing just about anything you put on the market. You deny me complete access, that's ok, I don't want to do business with you.

I don't know how many of you were on the archive in 2005, but here's what happened.

First they removed all the sbds and aud shows off the archive without explanation. One day they were all there, the next they were gone. Then, after a fairly substantial outcry from Heads, they returned the library but disallowed downloading sbds. There were weeks of uproar here on the archive, people were pissed. You can search and read those posts from nov and dec 2005, there was a lot of vitriole there. Then in an interview, when asked about the backlash, Bobby's arrogant response to the fans was (and this is a direct quote), "See Ya". Phil was kinda on the fence, the drummers were on board (and some posts said they were actually the driving force behind the new policy), and the lyricists (especially Barlowe) spoke out against the new policy.

For me, it was an understood informal contract, you allow me access to the music and I will support you by purchasing just about anything you put on the market and will travel great distances to watch your shows. You deny me complete access, that's ok, I just choose not to do business with you.

Look, The reason these guys are rich has nothing to do with their recording career and commercial releases, it is because of all the money they made on tour, and all the merchandise they sold. Not only t-shirts, caps and stickers, but everything you can imagine. Jerry sold ties for cryin' out loud, and made a fortune on them. I doubt he ever wore a tie in his life, except for the Thrill Is Gone video. I'm sure if you asked him what a windsor knot was he would guess it had something to do with British Royalty. These guys were the hardest working band in the land and they were paid very well for that. In a lot of ways, they were way ahead of their time, allowing fans such broad access to the product.

These days, the only thing I pay for w/ these guys is for shows, where they are creating music in front of me, and I can re-connect with old friends.

Why does this not apply to other bands, including JGB? Because that was not part of the deal with them. It's as simple as that.

As for other bands and what the future holds for them. They are going to have to adjust, they are going to have to understand that most of the money is not going to come from pre-recorded music because so many people are going to find ways to get it for free. They're going to have to use that music as a marketing tool to attract fans to their shows. That's one way they're going to make money. The other way is, as Mel Brooks' Yogurt (Spaceballs) said, Moichandising, you know, Spaceballs the toilet paper, Spaceballs the bedsheets etc (Back in the day, I bought a dancing bear and a Uncle Sam Hawaiian shirt from

It's a new world out there and a whole new paradigm, and artists are just going to have to adjust. Maybe the general quality of music will get better because the weak musicians will not be able to make it. Maybe people will become musicians because they love to express themselves, not for fame and fortune.

Are they gonna make millions? I don't know, most of them, probably not, but neither are most other people in their lives. Will they make a good living? It depends on how good they are, how hard they work and how dedicated they are to their craft.

Remember, recorded music has only been available for a hundred years or so. For thousands of years, the only way musicians could make a living was by going from town to town playing their music, so it's not unprecedented.

That's my rambling diatribe for this year. Have at me, guys and gals!!

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2010-06-15 21:09:35

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jun 15, 2010 1:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

Well P.G. , I can see your point, but I also see the other side , a little . I think, the fall in sales of the Dps etc. due to various reasons . One was the ability to be undercut by the online downloads , and yes some fucks were posting the DPs versions of the shows . Another reason for the drop in sales would have to be the gradual deflating go the mega-Dead ballon .i.e., every year the big guy is gone, less and less sales . And, however rich they may or may not be, they see it as their legacy . Personally , I wish they didn't fuck with the Archive , especially the removal of shows once they are out commercially , or even worse the removal of shows that are only partially out .
I respect your reasons, but I think you are cheating yourself, not getting the releases . After all, it should be about the music, and I can't think of "a better value for you entertainment dollar" , than this fine music . And from a totally selfish point of view, the more stuff they sell , the more vault stuff will show up . AND , the less likely they will start looking to beat up on the Archive again...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Purple Gel Date: Jun 15, 2010 3:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

First of all, I'm not getting cheated, I have more live Dead than I could ever listen to. There arent enough hours in the day. I've got great shows that I haven't listened to in years. and that's just the Dead! I have over 60 days of music of all kinds on my external hard drives.

I would guess that most of you have a more diverse taste than just Dead and, like me, have a lot of different music. Do you really get to listen to all your Dead? Not that there's anything wrong with it, but after a while it just becomes a colection. Do you really listen to 33 dps, all the studio recordings, all the road trips, all the "from the vaults" the DVDs the ten cd Fillmore release, the Grateful Dead movie re-release with additional discs, and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head, I know there's a lot more. Not to mention your downloads and your streams. Man I'm exhausted just thinking about it. If you can listen to that much music in the course of a year or 2 or 3, you are a more dedicated than I am.

I've been in marketing for years and from a marketing point of view the reason for the dips in DP sales was obvious. The market was way oversaturated with live GD music. As much as we like to think we are this huge group of people, I would say that the number of people who were willing to buy 33 (or even 10) 3-cd sets of music from one band (even the Grateful Dead) over the course of a couple of years is fairly small. A lot of people who I went to shows with have maybe 2 or 3 DPs, they just aren't interested in getting that 5th or 6th or 10th killer Scarlet/Fire or Dark Star. Even the most popular musicians of all times who have hundreds of millions of fans (Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson) only release a cd once or twice a decade or so. Of course the GD can only sell a couple of thousand copies of each release. Certainly I'm happy that all that music is out there, but man, that's a lot of music from one band that in the context of popularity is way down the list. There's just not enough of a fan base to support all that output. I hope they fired whomever was giving them marketing advice.

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2010-06-15 22:08:37

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Purple Gel Date: Jun 15, 2010 3:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

I'm sorry folks, I'll shut up now.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Jun 15, 2010 2:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

Actually I only listen to the even numbered DPs , and wait for the leap year for the others ...
Yes, good point . Why do I still, get all the cds, and download even more shows ...
I have answered to friends that collecting the shows is like collecting interactive baseball cards . They are fun to collect and you an actually play them ! I listen to them more than I reread that copy of "Don Quixote I bought in 9th grade !
I could make the point that the "official releases" sound better than most downloads , etc. , but If you are happy with what you have ... well that's fine .
As for me, I do listen to plenty of other music , I have maybe 3x as many Classical cds as Dead ones ! I do cycle through my cds, takes years !
But yes, your argument is reasonable , but this collecting , on my part , has little to do with reason ...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jun 15, 2010 1:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

I respect that you have taken a stand on things and that you have stuck with it but it seems too all-or-nothing to me. I'll buy everything if you give me complete access through this site. If not then I buy nothing. Complete access? You still have darn good access through this site (i was here in 2005 as a lurker and remember the mood and the arguments) and frankly through bit torrent still have "complete" access if you are willing to use that.

I got over the "See Ya" comment a long time ago. It was stupid. I purchase what looks/sounds interesting to me and don't purchase what is not. However I do respect the band's right to market this stuff.

I completely agree that its a new world for musicians however I am not sure how that applies in this case since the band that recorded these concerts can no longer tour and they can no longer sound like they did 40 years ago. I would still rather purchase two RT releases then one Further ticket. I'll save my concert money for more current bands.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Purple Gel Date: Jun 15, 2010 2:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 5-15-time is short

I agree, they have a right to market it, absolutely. I'm just not buying.

I also know it's not like the old days when you actually had to make a serious effort to trade tapes, and there was a community of people you knew, and you had to take 3 hours just to tape one show instead of a few minutes to DL it. Those were fun days. I remember many a taping party where folks would bring their tape decks and tapes to one place and stay up all night to get a couple new shows. Thank goodness for good herb and fungi.

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2010-06-15 21:07:35